The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: Gov't Makes Progress On Belle Yellah Road

Some prominent citizens of Belle District, Garpolu County have given what appears to be an independent testimony for the first time about reported progress the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf regime is making on the much politicized road to Belle Yellah.

In 2009, Pres. Sirleaf led an array of government officials, including the American and Chinese Ambassadors and spent the Christmas Holiday with the people of Garpolu in Belle Yellah and formally closed down the infamous prison compound named after the Town.

It was during that time some residents of the community saw yellow machines bulldozing in the Belle Forest while the presidential convoy was following the track of the bulldozers and finally landed on the soil of Belle Yallah, amidst jubilation, characterized with various forms of battle cries and political slogans.

But after the departure of the President, the road then became a political weapon against Madam Sirleaf and her regime as if the government was not able to fulfill its promise to the people by making sure that the road is completed.

Although the Pealat Construction Company (PCC) Contracted by the Liberian Government to do the road has reportedly demonstrated sincere commitment and made tremendous progress on the road which allows taxi cabs and other commercial vehicles to ply the route, government's financial constraint could not immediately sustain the zeal and progress the engineers from the company were making, thus resulting to the delay for completion.

But it appears that the government through the Ministry of Public Works has renewed its commitment, this time around to finally complete the project once and for all as evident by the latest testimony from some most important opinion leaders of the community.

However, it is not clear whether the government is financially potent and ready to settle all necessary financial obligations with the contractor because report from the county suggests that the administration is doing extremely well.

Apparently in recognition of the reported development on the road, two prominent sons of the county, particularly from Belle District are commending President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Public Works Minister, Samuel Kofi Woods and the Pealat Construction Company (PCCC) for the level of accelerated progress that has been made on the road in the past few weeks.

Addressing a team of reporters, including editors over the weekend in Monrovia, former Chairman of the Belle District Development Association (BEDDA), T. Doe Johnson and J. KeyahSaah, also a 2011 representative contender on the ticket of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) called on Pres. Sirleaf and Min. Woods not to be deterred by negative and diabolical propaganda which has been launched in that past few weeks by some unknown individuals claiming to be citizens from the District.

The citizens' reaction comes amidst media report that the Government has abandoned the project, because it does not consider the road as a priority. The two prominent sons of the county told journalists that they were also taken aback by a news article in the Friday, January 18, 2013 Edition of the Daily Observer Newspaper under the caption: "Citizens Decry Belle Yallah Road."

But Messrs Johnson and Saah, in their reaction challenged the source of the information, adding that names attached to the article, including James Bawie and Emma Worlor are 'fake' names and the President should not take them seriously.

"The author of the story would have done justice if he had gone on the road to capture the number of bridges that has already been launched, including those that are already being completed and most importantly, the significant progress the contractor has made to reduce the much challenging Goma Hill."

The citizens noted that they were taken aback because, the article came after the recent visit of a team of Public Works officials, including Deputy Minister for Administration, Steven Yekeson, and Assistant Minister Sam Nagbe who assessed the progress the contractor has made so far on the road.

According to them, the article does not represent the view of the people from the District as well as the entire county "because we are on the road nearly on a daily basis and we can assure the President and Min. Woods that we are satisfied with the level of work that is actively ongoing. Our only appeal is for the President and the Minister of Public Works to sustain the progress and zeal on the road by meeting the legitimate financial needs of the contractor which has caused some delay in the completion of the project, although we understand the financial constraint of the government."

However, the two sons of the county have sounded a strong caveat to politicians who are politicizing the project for selfish political gains to end such campaign because, as they put it, such negative action is not in the interest of the people of the Belle District whose hardship and suffering the Liberian leader is determined to end.

"The road is not a political road; the President has decided to take on this initiative what her predecessors did not do, so we from the District will not allow anyone to discredit the effort of the government, particularly while the regime and the contractor are working to ensure the completion of the road before July 26, 2013."

Meanwhile, the citizens who sounded very optimistic asserted that they were confident that the President would fulfill her promise to them by spending the July 26 Independence Day Celebration in the County which would also mark the completion of the project.

"For some of us, we did not dream that motor road would have gone to Belle Yallah until December 2009, when Pres. Sirleaf led an array of government officials, including American and Chinese Ambassadors to spend the Christmas season in Belle Yallah while Pealat's yellow machines were doing the first clearance in the Belle Forest for the time in the history of the county.

"We understand that 2014 is around the corner but, we are calling on those job seekers to stop using the road as their political platform. What we think they can do is to help encourage the President and the Ministry of Public Works to make sure that the road is completed by July later this year, especially by meeting the financial demands of the contractor.

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